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Canada grants bail to Huawei chief sought by US for alleged Iran sanctions breach

Meng Wanzhou has been accused of setting up a subsidiary to evade US sanctions on Iran
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on 1 December (Reuters)

A Canadian court has granted bail to a top executive of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd while she awaits an extradition hearing to the United States.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on 1 December at the request of the US.

On Tuesday in Vancouver, Justice William Ehrcke granted bail to Meng, subject to a guarantee of $7.5 million ($10 million Canadian) and other conditions, such as a nightly curfew and surrendering all her passports and travel documents.

The US wants its northern neighbour to extradite Meng, who has been accused of covering up her company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran in breach of US sanctions on that country, Reuters has reported.

US President Donald Trump told Reuters on Tuesday he would intervene in the US Department of Justice's case against Meng if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

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Meng is specifically accused of lying to a US bank, identified by her lawyer as "Hong Kong Bank," about the use of a covert subsidiary.

The US alleges that she set up a subsidiary called Skycom to evade its economic sanctions on Iran, CBC News reported. The US government says that Skycom is a part of Huawei, not a separate partner.

From 2009 to 2014, a Canadian court heard last week, that Huawei used Skycom to transact business in Iran despite US and European Union bans.

According to a Wall Street Journal report in April, the Department of Justice had launched a criminal probe into Huawei for its alleged trade with Iran, and both the US Commerce and Treasury departments had issued subpoenas for a potential violation of US sanctions.

Huawei is the world’s largest manufacturer of cellular-tower electronics and the third-biggest smartphone producer.

In a short statement on Sunday, China's foreign ministry said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng had issued a warning to release Meng to Canada's ambassador in Beijing, summoning him to lodge a "strong protest".

"China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused," Le said.

Meng's next court hearing in Canada will be held on 6 February, the Canadian court justice said on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, a Canadian citizen was detained in China. The Canadian government said it saw no explicit link to the Huawei case, but analysts had predicted retaliation from Beijing.

Two sources told Reuters the person detained was former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, who now works for a think tank.

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